Related question here discusses the secret passwords and handshakes that are, according to LDS church, required in order to gain entrance to heaven. This question and this Wikipedia article discusses their relationship/similarity with Masonic rituals.

Even if we accepted the view that Masonic symbolism originated before early Christianity (among the builders of Solomons's temple), I have not yet found any reference in the Bible to specific handshake(s) as a requirement to enter heaven.

Unless this is mentioned somewhere in the Bible canon, it looks like early Christians or people living before that did not know of this requirement.

How would worshipers of God who died before Joseph Smith have entered heaven since they would not have known the secret passwords or handshakes?

2 Answers 2


The whole point of having temples is to receive saving and exalting ordinances for ourselves and for our ancestors. After one has received temple ordinances for themselves, he/she goes back to the temple and does ordinances by proxy for those who have died. Then the person who has died can choose to accept it or not.

President David O. McKay wrote about the purpose of the temple in 1972:

Where did Christ’s spirit go while his body lay in the tomb? The apostle Peter tells us that he went to preach to the spirits who were in prison, who were once disobedient in the days of Noah when the ark was being prepared. (See 1 Pet. 3:19–20.) Those who died thousands of years ago were still living in the spirit world, and the gospel was taken to them as it will be taken to all of our Father’s children.

This, then, is another purpose of the temple. You may have the opportunity of gathering the names of your ancestors, who, being baptized by proxy, may become members of the kingdom of God in the other world as we are members here.

Each time an ordinance is performed by proxy, the name of the individual for whom the ordinance is being performed is assigned/given to the proxy on a piece of paper and that proxy does the ordinance for that person, keeping the paper with them until complete. It is then recorded on the computer. It's one-by-one and very individual (efficiency is not the purpose or the goal). It doesn't matter how that person lived; their work is done nonetheless, and everyone -- every person who ever lived -- will eventually have the opportunity to accept the ordinances if they choose to.

  • You are saying this proxy ordinance requires the name of the dead person for whom the ordinance is being done. But how about some Alaskan Inuit or some Zulu tribe member from 1000 years ago, or people from further back in history. How will this ordinance ever be done for all the millions who have died without any trace of what their names were?
    – Dee
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 22:36
  • 5
    @Dee, it is generally believed by members of the LDS Church that the work for such people will be completed during Christ's millennial reign.
    – Jacob Glad
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 23:06
  • Yes, from what I understand, it will all be sorted out in the Millennium.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 23:21
  • @Dee, to echo both Jacob and Matt, God certainly knows who all His children are, and it is expected and anticipated that He will make sure the temple work for all His children get done, whether their names are still accessible in terrestrial records or not. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 15:24

There is an intent to make a mock of those things that are sacred to another. A true follower of Jesus Christ would love their neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40) and because of that love would not make a mock of those things that are sacred to their neighbor. Why does this need to be pointed out on a Christian website?

The LDS belief is that those that have not had the opportunity to accept the gospel during mortality will be given the opportunity in the next life:

"The opportunity for those who have died without receiving the saving ordinances of the gospel to have these ordinances performed for them in temples by worthy living members of the Church. The dead are taught the gospel in the spirit world and may accept the ordinances performed for them in mortality.Faithful members of the Church research and prepare family histories to determine the names and birth dates of ancestors so that the saving ordinances may be performed for them.Say to the prisoners, Go forth, Isa. 49: 9 (Isa. 24: 22; 1 Ne. 21: 9). Proclaim liberty to the captives, Isa. 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, Mal. 4: 5-6 (3 Ne. 25: 5-6; D&C 110: 13-16). The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, John 5: 25. Why are they then baptized for the dead? 1 Cor. 15: 29. Christ preached unto the spirits in prison, 1 Pet. 3: 18-20. For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, 1 Pet. 4: 6. The Son visited the spirits in prison, D&C 76: 73. Then cometh the redemption of those who have received their part in that prison, D&C 88: 99. A baptismal font is not upon the earth that my Saints may be baptized for those who are dead, D&C 124: 29. All those who have died who would have accepted the gospel will be heirs to the celestial kingdom, D&C 137: 7-10. The Son of God appeared declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful, D&C 138: 18. As many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, Moses 7: 57." (Guide to the Scriptures, "Salvation for the Dead")

  • 3
    1) This website is about Christianity, but actually cannot be described as a Christian website - see here. There is no guarantee the OP is a Christian at all. 2) I see no intent to mock in the OP's question. I only see an honest, challenging question. Interpreting honest challenging questions as mockery only does a disservice to your own belief system.
    – Nacht
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 3:10
  • You seem to have taken a tour, but I'd like to repeat this: "Christianity - Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more." (emphasis mine). Please always assume good faith before its proven that it's intent is to mock (which I don't find any)
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 3:18
  • Also, the "edit" button does wonders for questions that could be better worded. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 4:31

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